These are some of the things I carry in my backpack when turkey hunting. Season opens here April 20th, and last report there was still a ton of snow up north. We got some more last evening, but thankfully Monroe missed most of it. My permit is for the “late” season, so I won’t be hitting the woods till May 4th. The heavy snow pack could work to my advantage, if the mating season is running behind.
In the picture (from left to right) you’ll see my Ben Lee twin hen box call first. It actually will make two different tones imitating the hen turkey. Next is my small “Latham” slate call. This call is very compact, but has a excellent sound with little movement on the callers part. I’ve had this call for 25 years. Next is my Primos “gobble box” which makes good gobble sound. In the background is my Ben Lee slate call, and the one on the end is my latest call made by “Mad River.” It’s the River Otter model, and presently my favorite box call. Hanging from my big Tom’s neck is my Quaker Boy owl locator call. I also use a crow call and have tried the peacock call to locate roosting birds. Also pictured are my Bausch and Lomb binoculars, a very necessary tool, as your quarry’s eyesight is next to none. You will notice the absence of a diaphragm call, as my gag reflex works overtime whenever I put one in my mouth. The “wing board” in front is for making an early morning sound of turkey’s leaving their roost, as you flap the wing through the air.
Pattern your shotgun before going afield, and make sure you take a head/neck shot. It’s always nice to catch him in the middle of a gobble, as you squeeze off the shot. I use 5-6 shot myself, and may even use 4 shot if the situation calls for it. You do not necessarily need decoys, but they certainly do work, especially in the early season. Many guys are now using multiple decoys (me included) and a jake decoy or a mating set also work well.
The most important thing about turkey hunting is staying well concealed. A pop-up blind will allow you some movement in the darkness of the blind. If your on the ground any movement, you make, will likely work against you. It’s best to have your shotgun resting on your knee or shooting sticks before the turkey gets very close to your position. Sometimes a Tom will come into your calling unannounced! These silent birds are difinatly more likely to give you the slip, so you have to be on “full alert” at all times. Be like Joe Giarmo (the boxing coach) keep your guard up! Good hunting guys and gals, and children of all ages.